Breast cancer care below par in four Dutch clinics

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A major health insurer in the Netherlands has broken off ties with four breast cancer clinics  which it says are providing substandard treatment.

The main objection is that these hospitals carry out an insufficient number of operations to warrant the experience level that surgeons need, insurer CZ said.

When the insurer's plan to release a list ranking breast cancer clinics became known, some of them took legal action to block its publication. The request was thrown out by the judge.

The hospitals are

Bethesda in Hoogeveen Gemini in Den Helder Maasziekenhuis in Boxmeer De Sionsberg in Dokkum

The insurer emphasised that these hospitals comply fully with the Health Ministry Inspectorate's criteria; it is just the breast cancer treatment that is below the desired level.

The CZ list ranks 93 hospitals according to the quality of breast cancer care given. Except for the bottom four, the insurer will continue to do business with all of them. Over the past decade, the Dutch health care market has been liberalised, increasing competition between hospitals.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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